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Haunted House Art HEDZ Horror Props Costumes

HEDZ Company Info

Logo from the 2nd HEDZ Flyer
As I explained on the About the 'Artist' page, I originally started making heads because other people were asking so much for props like the sort I wanted. Eventually I had built up a small stable of the things, which I re-used in various haunted house rooms. Not long after I got a few of them completed, people started suggesting I go into business making them. I tossed this idea around for a few years and then decided to see what the business of selling Halloween Props would bring.

1st HEDZ Flyer
I named my company Forrestial which was what I used to call the poor dead chap hanging on the spikes in the early South American scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I'm not quite sure where I came up with that particular name, Perhaps from the comic book adaptation or the bubblegum cards. Whereever I got it from, I got it wrong, because the guy's name was actually Forestal. Needless to say, when I wanted a company name, my erroneous name 'Forrestial' just had to be included. A little graphical magic from an artistic friend by the name of Tom Kiley and my little company was born.

Next I tried to finish as many heads as I could. I hadn't really figured out how I was going to go about mass producing the things yet, I just wanted to have enough items to make it look like I had a thriving company. (I believe this is called Bootstrapping. Sort of.) My cousin Bob agreed to help me and suggested I create flyers to hand out at the event if the opportunity presented itself. I had experience in graphical design from working on an student publication at Wayne State called the Wayne Engineer making me believe I could design an effective ad flyer. You see the result at left. What can I say? It certainly could have been worse, right? (Right?!)

We decided to go to the 1995 Halloween Trade Show at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago and try our luck. People at the convention who owned stores seemed somewhat interested, but they wanted to know how much the product cost. It's a good question, right? Of course, I had been so busy making flyers and HEDZ, that it hadn't occurred to me to price the production of the product out. So back home I went to refigure.

2nd HEDZ Flyer
So the next year was spent learning about mass producing the products. I needed molds to make them. As I've mentioned, the original props were designed for specific purposes and specific Haunted House rooms. By the time the grand decision was made to begin making them commercially available, I had created 7 or 8 of them, none of which were production ready. Most of the HEDZ contained crevices and recesses that the molding industry calls 'undercuts.' Undercut surfaces require extra mold pieces, which which is industry code for 'more expensive.'

So I culled the existing batch of heads and chose those that I felt would be most commercially appealing (I'm stretching the word "appealing" to its limit here). I took these and showed them to the mold-maker. He looked at each one and showed me what I needed to do to make them more mold-friendly. With this advice, I took a second inventory of the heads and decided which could be used. These were then re-sculpted, or, in some cases, rebuilt it so that a two-piece mold could be made. Then I showed the parts to the mold maker again and got pricing. I created the new flyer you see here that accurately reflected the re--molded parts.

I booked a booth at the 1996 Halloween Trade Show in Chicago and got as many people as were willing to go with me to man the booth. We spent a long weekend hawking HEDZ which resulted in three sales. Yep. Three. Talking with some other vendors, I learned that this was because the buyers were leery of new sellers. I guess they tended to go out of business without delivering product. My pricing flyer asked for 1/2 downpayment, which probably put the final nail in the 1996 HEDZ coffin. Still, there was a lot of interest in our products, so it might have worked. Might have.

So why have you never heard of HEDZ or Forrestial Enterprises? Well, to make a long story short, I found I liked the process of creating things, but not manufacturing them. I also found that constant focus on such a gruesome topic to be sort of challenging. I did learn a lot, like how to make ceramic molds and produce moldable products, but after two years of manufacturing, I closed the business. Perhaps the best thing about it was I felt like I made a brief foray into the realm of forensic anthropology. Because every single prototype prop started with a skull. I built each one up using layers of material until I had a face (albeit a deformed one).